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Module 2 Quality Assured Pork

Last Updated: 29 Nov 2023.

1.1 Compliance with the Quality Pork Charter rules

The charter participant shall be compliant with the requirements of the BMPA Quality Pork Charter rules. The BMPA Quality Pork Charter underpins the Red Tractor Assurance or the Quality Meat Scotland standards for pork and pork meat products, therefore as pork is used as the raw material for all products produced in the whole charter it is a requirement to hold certification for module 2 – BMPA Quality Assured Pork and the products you produce are made with pork that is BQAP. Red Tractor Assurance are the license holders of the RTA logo

Guidance

The charter participant shall be aware that where specific charter rules have been highlighted that these are auditable points within the scope of this pork module against which compliance shall be assessed by the service provider.

Evidence

Compliance with the specific auditable points of the BMPA Quality Pork Charter rules.

1.1 Traceability audit form

According to rule 5.2.2, charter participants must ensure that they have a documented system and schedule for challenging traceability and mass balance. To help you standardise your record keeping you can use this Traceability Audit Form as a template.

Download the traceability audit form

1.2 Traceability non-conformance form

Where a non-conformance is raised for traceability and mass balance exercises, rule 5.2.7 requires charter participants to record detailed evidence of root cause analysis and corrective action. To help you standardise your record keeping you can use this Non-Conformance Form.

Download the traceability non conformance form

2.1 Sourcing, traceability and proving assurance

2.1.1 All pork raw material to be used for the manufacture of BMPA Quality Assured Pork (BQAP) shall be sourced from supplying sites that are certified against the BMPA Pig Welfare, Slaughter and Biosecurity module or equivalent recognised standard e.g. QMS.

2.1.2 To maintain traceability all pork carcases and raw material shall be accompanied by clearly marked delivery documentation and labelling which confirms the assured status and country of birth, rearing and slaughter or statement of pigs’ origin.

2.1.3 Where pigs are born, reared and slaughtered in one country, a single statement of origin shall be sufficient for the traceability declaration.

2.1.4 Sow raw material shall not be used for BQAP unless it is intended for the manufacture of processed pork meat products approved within Modules 3 (Bacon & Gammon), Module 4 (Ham & Cooked Pork) and/or Module 5 (Pork Sausage) of the BMPA Quality Pork Charter.

2.1.5 The site shall have standard operating procedures for the identification, handling and processing of sow meat.

Guidance

Heart, lungs and liver obtained from assured pigs may be categorised as BQAP.

Pork raw material may be supplied from several sources:

  • internally (integrated site)
  • intra-company (‘sister site’)
  • externally

The site shall hold copies of all suppliers’ BMPA Quality Pork Charter certification. 

It is not sufficient for a single header/logo to be the sole indicator of assured status on the delivery document. Where there is doubt regarding the status of the supply chain, verification shall be sought.

Evidence

Copies of suppliers’ certificates of conformity against the BMPA pork module shall be held by the site and these shall be valid for the period under review. For each consignment of BQAP material delivered there shall be a warranty that clearly confirms the materials’ assured status and origin information of the pork.

Review traceability systems for the segregation and identification of sow meat. Challenge a single product date where sow meat was processed to include relevant production records.

2.2 Transporting raw materials

2.2.1 The site shall have standard operating procedures and inspection records for the reception, assessment temperature monitoring, and the action to be taken if requirements are not meet for all pork deliveries to the site. 

2.2.2 When placed in the transport vehicles, pork raw material shall be either hung on clean well-maintained stands/hooks or supplied in covered, clean, intact containers, cartons or trays that pose no risk of contamination to the contents. 

2.2.3 All raw material supplied to the site shall be transported on clean, well-maintained temperature-controlled vehicles that pose no risk of product contamination. 

2.2.4 Each consignment of pork raw material shall be examined on arrival to ensure that it is compliant with specification, free from contamination and indications of spoilage. The BQAP assured status and traceability back to source shall be maintained.

Guidance

If incoming pork material is not being received at the time of the audit, verification shall be sought by talking to key personnel to confirm the system for the transport of product. Verification of the cleanliness and temperature compliance may be taken by sampling/examining the most recent deliveries in the intake chill or associated areas.

Packaging shall be appropriate to the product being delivered. E.g. naked product delivered in dolavs/shrouded (liners). Vacuum packed product in boxes or containers. Consideration shall be given to the type of product and protection of any exposed bone for bone-in materials using a secondary layer of packaging.

Evidence

Documented procedure. Visual inspection of the incoming material. Checks on the integrity of packaging. Examples of intake records since the last audit. 

2.3 Temperature during transport

2.3.1 During transportation and on arrival at the receiving site the temperature of the chilled pork raw material shall not fall outside of the range of -2°C to +5°C. 

2.3.2 The target temperature of frozen pork raw material shall be -18°C or less during transport and it shall not exceed -12°C at intake.

Guidance

Verification is invariably undertaken whilst the product is on the delivery vehicle and at different points within the storage unit of the transporter. Whether a ‘between pack’ or ‘product core’ temperature is recorded this shall be determined by the product type, e.g. unwrapped, overwrapped or packed. 

The site need to ensure compliance with FSA guidance on “use by” and “best before” coding and the safety and shelf-life of vacuum and modified atmosphere packed chilled foods and raw materials with respect to the control of non-proteolytic C. Botulinum

Further verification may be sought by checking the temperature recording instrument of the vehicle.

Evidence

Examples of intake records since the last audit.

2.4 Labelling for pork received

Each batch of pork raw material shall be marked or labelled with the following as a minimum requirement on intake:

  • Site identification code (health mark)
  • Product description – e.g. rindless bellies
  • Weight – The number of units may also be indicated
  • Traceability batch code – In most cases the traceability batch code is the kill date however, where a production date is used, the information shall be able to trace the product backwards to a kill date. Slaughter code may be in ‘Julian’ calendar format or the actual kill date may be shown
  • Confirmation of assured status – The lettering BQAP may be used to confirm the products’ assured status to relate to the product within the container/box. Non-eligible material shall not be packed within the same dolav, container or box
  • Country of birth, rearing and slaughter or statement of pigs’ origin – Where pigs are born, reared and slaughtered in one country, a single statement of origin is sufficient for the traceability declaration
  • Date of freezing on all frozen raw material
  • Process-by date
  • Kill date

Guidance

Whether the material is being transported in dolav, rigid container or as boxed, the labelling information shallremain attached to the unit.

Evidence

Verification of labelling or markings.

2.5 Microbiological sampling and testing

2.5.1 The site shall have a standard operating procedure and testing schedule that details the frequency, scope and action limits for the microbiological testing of all incoming pork raw material. 

2.5.2 The charter participant shall have undertaken a risk assessment to justify the frequency of microbiological sampling. 

2.5.3 The microbiological condition of incoming pork shall be monitored with respect to the following criteria:

TargetUpper Action Limit
Aerobic colony count (ACC)<1 x 104cfu/g1 x 106cfu/g

2.5.4 Where microbiological results above this limit are found, there shall be evidence that these are subject to trend analysis and, where ongoing issues are highlighted, that root cause and corrective action has taken place.

Guidance

The testing schedule shall relate to the number of suppliers (including those transferred between sites of the same company) and the volume of material and the range of cuts being processed. 

Evidence

Review of the following:

2.5.1 Testing schedule. 

2.5.2 Copy of risk assessment. 

2.5.4 Examples of microbiological reports since the last audit and trend analysis and where applicable root cause and corrective action reports.

3.1 Temperature during storage

3.1.1 The storage area shall, under maximum load, maintain product temperatures within specification 

3.1.2 The temperature of chilled pork raw material during storage shall be -2°C to +5°C. 

3.1.3 The temperature of chilled meat preparations during storage shall be between -2°C to +4°C. For minced meat the temperature will be -2°C to +2°C 

3.1.4 The temperature of chilled offal during storage shall be between -2°C to +3°C.

3.1.5 The temperature of frozen pork raw material during storage shall be -18°C or colder.

3.1.6 Where deep chilled storage typically this would be 0 to -4 degrees Celsius is used there shall be a standard operating procedure that details control of deep chilling under normal operational conditions, but which takes into account emergency procedures that shall be followed if breakdown occurs. Validation of shelf life within the deep chill shall take into account worst case scenarios.

Guidance

The storage area may be equipped with auto door closure, air or strip curtains to minimise ingress of warm air during stock transfers. Dependent on the process e.g. cold storage or tempering the refrigeration temperature may be set to a target temperature to allow for temperature fluctuations caused by defrost cycles, doors opening during stock transfer etc. 

It may be acceptable for the air temperatures to be exceeded for short periods during defrost cycles/stock transfer etc. providing the product temperature remains within specification.

Shelf life challenges should be carried out at worst case scenario at less than +8°C are recommended.

Evidence

Examples of temperature control records.

3.2 Length of storage and shelf life (chilled)

3.2.1 The shelf life of all chilled pork raw material shall be compliant to that specified within legislation (853/2004). However the FSA issued UK guidance on the number of days from kill in the form of a derogation – here

3.2.2 Pork raw material shall be processed within kill+4 days, however if the raw material is held in chill rooms that can maintain a constant temperature, the storage period may be extended by up to 3 days. Where pork raw material is vacuum packed, gas flushed or deep chilled and subject to the requirements of Clause 3.2.3 additional storage life beyond these limits can be used.

3.2.3 Any extension of shelf life greater than kill+4 days, shall be subject to satisfactory documented shelf life verification (sensory and microbiological evaluation) that shows that the extension of life does not, under worst case conditions, adversely affect product safety or quality. The microbiological limits shall not exceed the levels in clause 2.5.3.

3.2.4 Chill temperature, traceability and shelf life records shall be maintained.

Guidance

For a co-located site where the pork has been slaughtered and processed on the same site, extension of life beyond kill+4 days can be verified through the review of chill temperature monitoring records, without the requirement to package or deep chill the raw material. If you buy in BQAP raw material from another member of the BQAP scheme the same rule will apply as mentioned above for co-located sites.

Consideration should also be given to the FSA guidance on the control of Clostridium Botulinum for products that exceed 10 days life. The BMPA research report can be found on the main BMPA website.

Evidence

Examples of temperature monitoring records since the last audit. Review kill dates aligned to storage period, including verification of sensory and microbiological to ensure shelf life extensions. In relation to vacuum packed, gas flushed or deep chilled raw material, additional supporting evidence e.g. shelf life records

3.3 Length of storage and shelf life (frozen)

3.3.1 Pork raw material shall be labelled with a date of kill and it shall not exceed kill+4 days at the point of freezing.

3.3.2 The pork material shall be in good condition at the time of freezing and shall be effectively packaged to prevent contamination and degradation of quality.

3.3.3 Frozen pork shall be labelled with the date of entry into the freezer, and a durability date that does not exceed 24 months.

3.3.4 Where frozen product is to be defrosted (tempered), the surface temperature shall not exceed +7C and it shall be carried out to a documented and validated procedure in line with the charter participants processing specification

3.3.5 Stock control and defrost records shall be maintained. 

Evidence

Review examples of stock control and defrost records since the last audit. Visual inspection of storage area to include product labelling and date coding. Review the documented procedure for the defrosting of frozen product process aligned to the charter participants processing specification. Review of records to ensure the sensory and microbiological of extended shelf life products. 

3.4 Durability dates

All pork raw material shall be used within its stated durability date.

Guidance

FSA guidance on “use by” and “best before” date codes.

Evidence

Examples of shelf life records and verification of maximum period of storage.

4.1 Standard operating procedures

4.1.1 With standard operating procedures, work instructions, quality attribute specifications (QAS), in-house ‘mini specifications’ and finished product specifications shall be established and maintained for the pork cut/product type being manufactured. Relevant staff shall be trained against the relevant SOPs.

4.1.2 The in-house ‘mini specification’ shall be developed in line with the QAS specified in clause 6.2.1 and provide using words, measurements and/or photographs, specific quality attributes that clearly define acceptable and unacceptable key attributes for each finished cut/pork product approved by the BQAP module.

4.1.3 The mini specification shall be prominently displayed at appropriate points of the production line to assist staff with quality monitoring and compliance.

4.1.4 A documented check shall be carried out on each production run of finished cuts/pork product to verify that the quality standards are being achieved.

4.1.5 Where there is evidence of attribute failure, the site shall investigate root cause and implement corrective action to minimise/prevent the issue from re-occurring. 

Guidance

The ‘mini specification’ is a short version of specific key quality attributes from the QAS displayed on the manufacturing line.

Evidence

Visual inspection of butchery and finished product standards at point of production. Review ‘mini specification’, records of QAS verification check and evidence of siting the pictorial information and that the mini spec displayed is relevant to the product going down the packing line at the time of the audit. Training records of relevant staff.

4.2 Temperature during cutting

In-process checks shall be undertaken and recorded to monitor the cut/pork product temperature up to the point of packing.

During cutting and packing operations the temperature of pork raw material shall not exceed +5°C (+3°C for offal).

Guidance

Where a meat preparation is being manufactured, which by definition involves chopping, mincing, blending and/or filling, a provision to allow some increase in meat temperature is allowed as long as this is returned to <4°C (the legal temperature for meat preparations, within 4hrs

Evidence

Examples of producttemperature records aligned to in-process and up to the point of packing since the last audit.

5.1 Labelling for traceability & mass balance

All pork raw material shall be identified as BMPA Quality Assured Pork or “BQAP” by labelling of the rack, chandelier or other transport medium.

Each batch of pork raw material to be used for the manufacture of any BMPA Quality Pork Charter products shall be marked or labelled with the following information as a minimum:

  • Site identification code (health mark)
  • Product description
  • Weight
  • Traceability batch code 
  • Confirmation of assured status
  • Country of birth, rearing and slaughter or statement of pigs’ origin
  • Date of freezing (if frozen)
  • Durability / process-by date
  • Date of kill

Evidence

Visual inspection of labelling of the transport medium, outer case and/or retail pack.

5.2 Traceability and mass balance audits

5.2.1 The charter participant shall carry out 4 mass balance and 8 traceability audits during the certification year. The schedule may consider the mass balance requirements specified within BRC GFS.

5.2.2 All charter participants shall ensure that they have a documented system and schedule for challenging traceability and mass balance of all assured pork raw material, work in progress material (WIP), rework and finished products and that these are clearly identified with assured status at each stage of the process from intake through to dispatch. The system shall facilitate both forward and backwards traceability and mass balance of both assured and non-eligible pork raw material by the conclusion of the charter audit and that mass balance shall include any wastage and processing yield losses to account for the full batch to be completed within an accuracy of not less than 95% and not greater than 100% accountability. It shall include all forms of assured pork material used in the product i.e. rind, added back fat etc.  See Appendix 1 of this module for a traceability audit form template.

5.2.3 When completing traceability back to farm, 3 slap marks from 3 separate producers from the same kill date shall be checked against the pig producer’s animal movement license. Verification of the slap mark or ear tag shall include the assured status of the farm, livestock vehicles and where applicable, assured collection centres using the relevant assurance checker. 

5.2.4 The charter participant shall have a sampling plan for the traceability and mass balance audits that include all the products approved by each module of the BMPA Quality Pork Charter and a minimum one product per month shall be challenged. 

5.2.5 Traceability and mass balance audits shall be carried out by a competent, trained individual who is independent of the manufacturing operation. For further guidance, refer to the BMPA Quality Pork Charter rules appendix 3 ‘Competency and independence of internal/external auditors undertaking traceability and mass balance audits’ and appendix 4 ‘Traceability and mass balance guidance’.

5.2.6 Documentary evidence containing a summary of each traceability and mass balance exercise shall be maintained to demonstrate that the requirements of the pork charter are being met.

5.2.7 Where a non-conformance is raised for traceability and mass balance exercises, records shall detail evidence of root cause analysis and corrective action. See Appendix 1 of this module for a traceability non conformance report form template.

5.2.8 Charter participants shall carry out a risk assessment at least once during each certification year to verify that the traceability systems and procedures are robust and effective for the identification and traceability of all pork materials.

Guidance

Traceability checks are carried out to verify the assured supply chain and mass balance checks may be carried out on part of the process and may include non-eligible products.

Product identification shall facilitate both backwards and forwards traceability i.e. from which batch did it originate and within which batch(s) was it used.

See below an example of a suggested schedule. The mass balance and traceability exercises carried out during a BRC GFS and BMPA Quality Pork Charter surveillance audit may count towards this requirement:

MonthScopeBasis
AprilBRC annual mass balance On BMPA quality assured product (incorporating a backward trace to farm and a forward trace from raw material intake to finished product) 
MayBMPA backward trace to assured farmOn BMPA quality assured product 
JuneBMPA forward trace from raw material intake to finished product*On non-eligible product 
JulyBMPA forward mass balance from raw material intake to finished productOn BMPA quality assured product (incorporating a forward trace from raw material intake to finished product)
AugustBMPA backward trace to assured farm On BMPA quality assured product
SeptemberBMPA forward trace from raw material intake to finished product*On non-eligible product
OctoberBRC provenance mass balance On BMPA quality assured product (incorporating a backward trace to farm and a forward trace from raw material intake to finished product)
NovemberBMPA backwards trace to assured farmOn BMPA quality assured product
DecemberBMPA forward trace from raw material intake to finished product*On non-eligible product
JanuaryBMPA forward mass balance from raw material intake to finished productOn BMPA quality assured product (incorporating a forward trace from raw material intake to finished product)
FebruaryBMPA backward trace to assured farmOn BMPA quality assured product
MarchBMPA forward trace from raw material intake to finished product*On non-eligible product
*Note – sites that do not handle non-eligible material shall carry out the required mass balance and traceability exercises on BMPA quality assured products)

Evidence

In seeking compliance, objective evidence shall be aligned to the following sub clauses:

  • Clauses 5.2.1, 5.2.2 and 5.2.5 Review traceability and mass balance reports since the last audit. 
  • Clause 5.2.3 Rreview sampling plan. 
  • Clause 5.2.4 Verify independency and competency of the auditor undertaking the traceability and mass balance checks.
  • Clause 5.2.6 Where non-conformance has been raised by the independent auditor review evidence of root cause analysis, corrective action and monitoring.
  • Clause 5.2.7 Copy of risk assessment.

6.1 Product specifications

All BQAP carcases, primals and cuts shall achieve the standards set by the BMPA Quality Assured Pork module as well as the following quality attributes:

6.1.1 The fat shall be firm and white.

6.1.2 The muscle shall be firm and of good colour without evidence of being pale, soft, exudative (PSE) or dark, firm, dry (DFD).

6.1.3 The muscle and fat shall show no sign of excessive bruising or blood splash.

6.1.4 Product shall be clean and free from extraneous matter.

6.1.5 Joints shall be separated by clean cuts and free from unnecessary cuts, slash marks and free from loose pieces of meat and exposed glands.

6.1.6 Rind-on cuts shall be free from hair, cuts and loose skin.

6.1.7 A maximum rind side blemish score of 2 on the Agricultural and Horticultural Dairy Board (AHDB) 5-point scale is permitted (see appendix 1). Carcases that do not meet this standard may be classified as BQAP if they conform in all other respects with the product specification and that they are further processed for rindless products only. View AHDB Blemish Scale

6.1.8 Rind-on cuts shall be sourced from carcasses of P2 maximum 16mm or P1+P2 maximum 32mm.

6.1.9 Where carcases are scanned, a measured lean percentage of 52% shall be treated as equivalent to this grade (see clause 6.1.8).Carcasses or primals in excess of this grade may be utilised providing fat is trimmed to meet the above specification.

Evidence

Visual inspection of product.

6.2 Quality Attribute Specification (QAS) monitoring

6.2.1 The charter participant shall monitor the quality attributes of each product type certified by this BMPA pork module against a documented qquality attribute sspecification (QAS) that has been formally agreed by the charter participant and their customer. All products shall achieve the standards set by the BMPA Quality Assured Pork module.

6.2.2 Where product is despatched for further processing e.g. primals, the QAS monitoring shall be undertaken post butchery at any stage of the process up to the point of despatch.

6.2.3 Where there is evidence of significant attribute failure, the site shall investigate root cause and implement corrective action to minimise/prevent the issue from re-occurring.

Evidence

Review examples of formally agreed QAS and that these are aligned to the approved products listed on the certificate of conformity. Visual inspection of finished product standards. Review examples of daily records of QAS verification checks since the last audit. 

6.3 Organoleptic testing

6.3.1 A standard operating procedure for organoleptic testing shall be in place and be conducted by a member of staff who is trained against the procedure.

6.3.2 An organoleptic sampling schedule shall be established for finished products certified by the BMPA Quality Assured Pork module at an appropriate frequency and as a minimum once per week to demonstrate compliance against the documented QAS. The product assessment shall include tenderness, succulence, flavour and visual appearance. This only applies to consumer packed products that do not requiring any further processing. This does NOT apply to primal products that will be further processed by slicing, chopping, dicing, mincing etc.

6.3.3 Records of assessment shall be retained. Where there is evidence of attribute failure, the site shall investigate root cause and implement corrective action. 

Evidence

Review of organoleptic testing procedure, sampling schedule, assessment and training records.

6.4 Microbiological standards

6.4.1 The site shall have sampling plans in place for the routine monitoring of finished product. The scope of the sampling plan shall cover those approved products listed on the certificate of conformity. 

6.4.2 Finished products shall be tested weekly in accordance with a documented sampling schedule to demonstrate compliance with the following microbiological targets:

TargetUpper Limit 
ACC <1 x 104 cfu/g1 x 106 cfu/g

6.4.3 Where on-going non-conformance trends are established there shall be evidence that this is subject to root cause investigation and corrective action.

Evidence

Review sampling schedule aligned to the scope of approved products and microbiological reports since the last audit. Evidence of corrective actions taken where non-conformance has been highlighted.

7.1 Reception into external cold stores

7.1.1 The cold store shall have standard operating procedures and inspection records for the reception, assessment, temperature monitoring and details of the action to be taken if requirements are not met for all pork deliveries. 

7.1.2 During transport, pork raw material shall be either hung on clean well-maintained stands/hooks or supplied in covered, clean, intact containers, cartons or trays that pose no risk of contamination to the contents. 

7.1.3 Pork raw material shall be transported on clean, well-maintained temperature-controlled vehicles that pose no risk of product contamination. 

7.1.4 Each consignment of pork raw material shall be examined on arrival to ensure that it is compliant with specification, free from contamination and indications of spoilage and that assured status and traceability back to source has been maintained.

Guidance

If product is not being received at the time of the audit, verification shall be sought by talking to key personnel to confirm the system for the transport of product. Verification of the cleanliness may be taken by examining the cleanliness of any deliveries in the intake chill or associated area. 

Packaging shall be appropriate to the product being delivered. E.g. naked product delivered in dolavs/shrouded (liners). Vacuum packed product in boxes or containers.

Evidence

Documented procedure aligned to clause 7.1.1. Visual inspection of interior of transport, condition of storage containers for product, integrity of packaging (where applicable). Examples of intake records since the last audit. 

7.2 Temperature during transport

7.2.1 The doors of the delivery vehicle shall remain closed up to the point when the pork raw material temperature is being checked.

7.2.2 During transport and on arrival the temperature of chilled pork raw material shall not fall outside of the range of -2°C to +5°C. 

7.2.3 The target temperature of frozen pork shall be -18°C or less during transport and shall not exceed -12°C at intake.

Guidance

Verification is normally undertaken whilst the product is on the delivery vehicle and at different points within the storage unit of the transporter. Verification shall be sought by checking the temperature recording instrument of the vehicle.

Evidence

Verification of product temperature records during transport and at point of receipt since the last audit.

7.3 Temperature during storage

7.3.1 The storage area shall, under maximum load, maintain product temperatures within specification 

7.3.2 The temperature of chilled pork raw material during storage shall be -2°C to +5°C. 

7.3.3 The temperature of chilled meat preparations during storage shall be between -2°C to +4°C. 

7.3.4 The temperature of chilled offal during storage shall be between -2°C to +3°C.

7.3.5 The temperature of frozen pork raw material during storage shall be -18°C or colder.

7.3.6 Where deep chilled storage is carried out, the standard operating procedure shall clearly state the minimum and maximum storage/meat temperature, and the action to be taken if this cannot be maintained

7.3.7 All pork raw material (carcase or cuts) shall maintain identify, its assured status, kill date, and durability date throughout storage.

Guidance

The storage area may be equipped with auto door closure, air or strip curtains to minimise ingress of warm air during stock transfers.

Dependent on the process e.g. cold storage or tempering the refrigeration temperature may be set to a target temperature to allow for temperature fluctuations caused by defrost cycles, doors opening during stock transfer etc. 

Evidence

The following sub clauses shall be verified:

  • Clause 7.3.1 records of temperature monitoring system at maximum load
  • Clause 7.3.2 to 7.3.6 examples of temperature control records. 

7.4 Freezing pork raw material

7.4.1 Pork raw material shall not exceed kill+4 days at point of freezing. 

7.4.2 The pork material shall be in good condition at the time of freezing and shall be effectively packaged to prevent contamination and degradation of quality. 

7.4.3 Pork raw material to be frozen shall be placed into a freezer immediately following receipt. Also see clause 3.3.3.

7.4.4 Frozen pork shall be labelled with a date of kill, date of freezing, and a durability date (best before code) and shall not be stored for longer than 24 months.

7.4.5 Frozen pork shall be stored at -18°C or colder.

7.4.6 Where frozen product is to be defrosted (tempered), this shall be in line with the charter participant’s specification. The tempering process shall be to a documented and validated procedure in line with the charter participant’s processing specification.

7.4.7 Stock control and defrost records shall be maintained.

Guidance

The integrity of the packaging shall be appropriate for the product. The site may have procedures in place for the control of stock and this shall be supported by stock control checks. 

Evidence

Examples of stock control checks since the last audit. Verification of the process for the movement and stock control of product on site.

7.5 Cold store operating procedures

The cold store shall have standard operating procedures in place for the control (quantity, durability and location) of stock. 

Evidence

Examples of stock control checks since the last audit. Verification of the process for the movement and stock control of product on site.

7.6 Cold store risk assessment

Charter participants shall carry out a risk assessment of the cold store to verify that the traceability systems and procedures are robust and effective for the identification, stock rotation, handling and traceability of all materials received by the cold store.

Guidance

The labelling of pork material shall clearly indicate that the pork material is assured, and the product is traceable to point of intake at the cold store.

Evidence

Copy of risk assessment undertaken. Discussion with key site personnel to confirm the systems for the identification, traceability and segregation of assured and non-assured product.

Review sites documented procedures and their appropriateness. 

7.7 Cold store traceability system

Charter participants shall ensure that the cold store traceability system is independently monitored on a regular basis. The following points clarify the requirements:

7.7.1 These audits shall be undertaken by the charter participant and may be an extension to the scope of the monthly traceability and mass balance checks undertaken at the participant’s site.

7.7.2 These audits shall be carried out by someone competent and independent of the cold store operation. 

7.7.3 Traceability and mass balance checks of the raw material back to intake shall be undertaken in alternate months to check that the materials in the cold store comply with the requirements of the pork charter. 

7.7.4 Documentary evidence containing a summary of each traceability and mass balance check undertaken shall be made available to the service provider to demonstrate that the requirements of the pork charter are being met.

Guidance

At the time of the announced surveillance audit, the service provider shall undertake a mass balance exercise and challenge simultaneously the robustness and effectiveness of the traceability systems and procedures at the cold store. The service provider shall record the details from a specific batch of assured material received from the cold store at the processing site, establish the size of the batch and systematically challenge the mass balance, verifying the ‘road map’ e.g. volumes despatched/received and destination. 

Consideration shall be given to any remaining batches/volumes still held in stock at the cold store and whether the volumes reconcile with the original quantities despatched/received at the processing site. It is expected that the charter participant shall have developed appropriate procedures to assist the independent auditor in undertaking the traceability exercise at the cold store. 

The verification of the traceability exercise shall include all the process steps at the cold store including associated delivery and despatch documentation. The procedure shall detail the administration that shall be used to carry out the traceability exercise and the documentation to be collated. The procedure shall detail the system for the management of non-conformances that may arise. 

Evidence

Copies of the traceability and mass balance exercises. Non-conformance reports to include root cause analysis, corrective action and monitoring.

7.8 Labelling for reception, storage & despatch

Each batch of pork to be used as a raw material for the manufacture of any BMPA Quality Pork Charter products shall be marked or labelled with the following as a minimum requirement on reception, storage and despatch:

  • Site identification code (health mark) – Charter participant’s site license number
  • Product description – e.g. rindless bellies
  • Weight – The number of units may also be indicated.
  • Traceability batch code – In most cases the traceability batch code is the kill date however, where a production date is used, the information shall be able to trace the product backwards to a kill date. Slaughter code may be in ‘Julian’ calendar format or the actual kill date may be shown.
  • Confirmation of assured status – The lettering BQAP may be used to confirm the products’ assured status to relate to the product within the container/box. Non-eligible material shall not be packed within the same dolav, container or box.
  • Country of birth, rearing and slaughter or statement of pigs’ origin – Where pigs are born, reared and slaughtered in one country, a single statement of origin is sufficient for the traceability declaration.
  • Date of freezing on all frozen raw material
  • Process-by or use by date – FSA guidance on “use by” and “best before” date codes.
  • Kill date

Evidence

Verification of labelling or markings.